In the Aftermath: GRIEF

 

The person you loved—maybe more than you ever loved anyone before—and who loved you just as much, is gone from your life, never to return. Of course you’re grieving.

But wait a minute, you tell yourself. You shouldn’t be grieving because you know this person didn’t really love you, and, in fact, your soul mate didn’t even really exist at all. You know now that after the glorious beginning, your relationship slowly became an ever-worsening emotional hell because of manipulation and from being treated with a stunning lack of empathy by  person who was incapable of it, and who was also unable to love.

What are you supposed to do with that?

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The people you know tell you what to do with it, and you might even tell yourself: If he or she was just an illusion, then you haven’t really lost anything. If he was an abusive creep then you should be happy he’s gone, not sad. Why don’t you just realize that, and get over it?

You don’t get any support from others, so you stop talking about it. They only made you feel wrong or ashamed of how you felt. And you chastise yourself for having feelings that don’t make any sense and that seem ridiculous in light of what really happened. But that hasn’t helped to ease the grief you feel.

What’s going on? you ask yourself. What should you do?

Grieve, that’s what.

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“I do at times feel a sadness, a deep sadness that I can’t explain even to myself; I suppose it’s for what could have been, Or maybe even… I don’t really know, sometimes I think if I could work that bit out it would be the last piece of the puzzle, does that make sense?”

~ A Reader

I saw a therapist for several months after it ended. When she didn’t understand something, she told me she didn’t, and then she would ask me to explain it to her. She would ask for more and more details, until she finally understood. By that time, I understood a lot more, too.

One day early on, I sat across from my therapist, shell-shocked and in mourning. She was trying hard to understand my grief, and she asked me how I could be grieving the loss of something that wasn’t real and someone who never loved me. I told her that none of that mattered and that it didn’t need to make sense.  It wasn’t about logic; it was about what I felt. I told her my love for him was real; it was love for someone and something I believed were real. I told her I was experiencing the same feeling of loss we have when we know we’ll never see a loved one again because they died, only instead of him being in a car crash or something, what took him away was being a psychopath. I told her it was not the illusion I mourned, nor the jackass my soul mate turned out to be— I felt grief for what I was believed was real before I learned it was an illusion (that may not seem to make sense at first glance, but there’s a profound difference between the two).

She furrowed her brow and nodded slowly, trying to wrap her head around the whole thing.

At our next session she came in, sat down, and looked me in the eye. Then she said, “I’m sorry for your loss.” I don’t know if she understood what I’d told her or if she realized that grief was what I felt no matter what she thought I should be feeling, but I deeply appreciated her words.

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“Reality is what we take to be true.”

~ Physicist David Bohm

I had thoughts that my grief was somehow wrong, but I didn’t listen to those thoughts. I’d had more than enough of having my feelings invalidated, and I decided to just go with it. To me, it felt as if there was some innocent child within me who simply couldn’t comprehend what had happened, and who didn’t understand where he’d gone or why he wasn’t coming back. And then I felt immense compassion for that part of me that simply couldn’t comprehend such a shocking betrayal and such a completely unexpected turn of events, and who deeply missed that illusory person.

That compassion worked wonders. My seemingly inexplicable and inappropriate grief needed time and acceptance and acknowledgement, just like any other grief would. I took close to two years for it to resolve. Hey, it takes our hearts a long time to catch up with our heads. The illusion they create — the soul mate — is extremely powerful. It’s what makes the whole miserable and crazy experience possible, so that tells you just how powerful it is. It also speaks to how hard it is when the heart finally knows that all hope is lost.

Healing involves working your way through the trauma and reclaiming your power as you go. Acceptance helps you do that. Not just acceptance of what happened, but acceptance of all of the feelings that arise along the way. Acceptance isn’t the final stage in some neat and orderly process; it helps you move through the process.

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“There is no walking backwards, and I am lost in the Labyrinth Invisible. I cannot retrace my steps. I wrote my name on the wall of the Labyrinth… I wrote my name but I can find it no longer; My ashes blow around like dust.”

~ Neil Gaiman, The Books of Magic : The Invisible Labyrinth

If you’re grieving but refuse to let yourself do it fully because you don’t think you have a “valid” reason to, or if others won’t let you grieve and they don’t give you the support they would give someone who was grieving for reasons they felt were “valid,” then you experience something called Disenfranchised Grief. This is not a good thing.

Disenfranchised grief is grief that is invalidated, for one reason or another. We or others don’t think we should be grieving, because we’re not entitled to it. Disenfranchised grief arises in any circumstance in which society denies our “need, right, role, or capacity to grieve” (Doka, 1989). It happens when the death or the relationship were ones that were stigmatized by society. An abusive relationship is one of those.

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“Rejecting feelings is rejecting reality; it is to fight nature and may be called a crime against nature, ‘psychological murder’ or ‘soul murder.’ Considering that trying to fight feelings, rather than accept them, is trying to fight all of nature, you can see why it is so frustrating, draining and futile.”

~ Steve Hein, MSW: Invalidation

Grief is a multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something that has died (but not necessarily) to which a bond or affection was formed. Unexpressed grief can leave emotional scars and depression behind. An understanding therapist can be very helpful in this situation if family and friends aren’t able to be there for you in an accepting and non-judgmental way (or if you’re not able to be there for yourself in an accepting and non-judgmental way).

To anyone reading this who is suffering with this perplexing — yet very real — grief, and mourning the loss of something that turned out to be an illusion:

I’m sorry for your loss.

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CONCLUSION

A lifetime ago: The door to a new strange new country opened, and I walked through it into a
place of sunlight and storms, waltzes and wild winds. As I stepped with doubt onto this new
road I heard the door swing shut behind me, and the bolt slide home.

There I traded freedom for blind passion, pleasure, Let’s Pretend; for the illusion of a
love. I was enchanted, held in bonds of velvet-covered steel.

The air was soft, the breeze was gentle. Stars and sunlight danced together. Dreams bloomed,
words enchanted, and a touch could light a fire.

And then the air turned chill, cold, freezing. The sun burned, the stars fell. Words filled
me with fear and a touch with dread.

A lifetime ago: I found the door to a once-beloved country, and I walked through it, into a
place of peace and comfort, soft light and warm winds. As I stepped with joy onto this
familiar road I heard the door swing shut behind me, and the bolt slide home.

I had lost the soaring, shining dream of dancing, the promises, The Enchantment of the Lie.
As the bonds fell away I knew the aching pain of loss, the vertigo of freedom, and the glory
of the gift of wings.

© 2016 Linda

To find out how to deal with disenfranchised grief, please read “Disen-whaaaat?? Understanding Disenfranchised Grief”

To learn more about your feelings after an abusive relationship ends, and the role neurochemistry and psychology play, read The Spellbinding Bond to Narcissists and Psychopaths – What’s Happening in the Brain? by Rhonda Freeman, PhD, neuropsychologist.

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47 thoughts on “In the Aftermath: GRIEF”

  1. Molly

    I believe my sister is a psychopath — as a small child she was simply far to different. As a adult she has no feelings but seems to take on personality from other people. She is dangerous and has not contact with the majority of the family that is still alive. She stole money food and just about anything she could carry. sad a very sad story. I am her older sister and she has not talked o me for 26 now. For myself am scared of her she is dangerous

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Molly, I’m sorry to hear about your sister. If she’s dangerous, it’s good she hasn’t spoken to you for 26 years. My own sister hasn’t spoken to me for 9 years (she’s Borderline). At year five, I finally realized how lucky I was. I accepted that she’d never be the sister I wished I had, no matter what I said or did. It is sad, but it’s out of my hands. I wish you all the best.

      1. Adrienne

        Hi adelyn you have helped me before and now I hope I can help you. .have you ever tried to understand bpd esp within the family? Its a horrible disorder where unfortunately we don’t purposely go out to hurt people. .thank you for your wonderful articles

        1. Adelyn Birch

          Have I ever tried to understand bpd within the family? I’ve lived it for decades, so the answer is yes. I understand it’s not purposeful, but that doesn’t lessen the impact, unfortunately, especially during earlier years. If a car is speeding straight toward me I’m going to get out of the way, because whether the driver is purposely doing it or not, the damage will be severe. I’m glad to hear you like the blog, Adrienne.

  2. jane barnes

    how can you grieve for a psychopath who so angry your not dead then cons a criminal judge support in court no chance accounts stripped for a timeline horrendous illness I had angry I did not die as informed by my Neuro consultant I had only 2-5 left to live they call this living in a refuge and broke

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m not surprised you’re not grieving, Jane, if he did such terrible things. I’m sorry you had to go through it. Or are you saying that you are grieving? I’m not sure. Sorry about that.

  3. Dee

    This post arrived at the perfect time. It’s wonderful Adelyn. Somehow you always seem to have radar for knowing what I’m experiencing.
    I have been feeling resentful lately and I think it’s a result of not completely processing my grief. If I had, then I wouldn’t be resentful, which explains why I’m still angry. What I resent most is his ability to continue to con. If he is as heartless as I think he is, then why are so many people telling me how happily in love he is. He and his gf travel splendidly and are planning so many great things! She’s rich, they live in her mansion and marriage may happen soon too. My logical mind reminds me that he is successfully enacting a con and it’s going really well because she has no idea of what he gets up to when she’s at work. If he was deviant and promiscuous when I was with him, then all that didn’t just stop because I’m out of the picture, right? Or, maybe he’s talked her into participating! I suppose none of it really matters. What does matter is revisiting the stages of grief that I sped through to get to the end. Your post is a great reminder that it’s important to feel it ALL. We cheat ourselves if we don’t submerge ourselves in the feelings. The truth is I am still angry over his heartless betrayal of the love I thought was real. The resentment I feel is a clear indicator that the pain of that betrayal is not yet healed.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Maybe we have some sort of psychic link. First, you have something on your mind, and then I get the idea and write a blog post about it :-)

      I doubt very much your ex has suddenly changed into a completely different person. His gf is rich—that’s the explanation for his seeming happiness. His deviant activities are sure to continue, whether she participates or not. That kind of thing doesn’t just go away.

      There is no shortcut to the finish line, at least not one I’ve found. Whatever we don’t give attention to is still there, as you’ve discovered. We have to feel all of it, as dreadful as it is, so we can work through it. What helped resolve my feelings of anger and resentment was really understanding what it meant that he had a brain disorder. If he didn’t, he would have been a completely different person.

      1. Dee

        Adelyn – So great how you have come to fully understand what he REALLY is I suppose its like if you painted an apple orange, it would never be an actual orange? Intellectually I get it, but because I feel a full color palette of emotions, it’s really hard to fully grasp how the man I loved can’t. I suppose if I get to that place of seeing him as disordered and not human, I would be able to let it all go. I keep calling him disordered, but I can see how I haven’t really digested that reality.

        1. Adelyn Birch

          You’ve told me enough about him to feel confident in saying his deviance/promiscuity is a major part of him, and that he’s after the money with his gf.

          They have a disorder, but it’s so difficult to see it that way. They can hide it and act perfectly normal when they want to, and it makes them act in such a calculating and deliberately sh*tful way, and they don’t suffer–they like the way they are! Once, someone asked me what a psychopath was like, and I said “You know what an a**hole acts like, right? Now just multiply that times a thousand.” And that’s why so many of us can say we know our ex was a psychopath, which we know is a very serious disorder, but we still talk about them like they were a**holes. Even after learning about all the abnormalities in their brains, of which there are many. Read a bunch of dry, scholarly research published in peer-reviewed journals. It helped me.

          1. Adelyn Birch

            Oh, another thing that might help is continuing to see him as human, but as a human with a disorder. That’s what they are.

            1. Dee

              Ok, I will. Btw, I read the link you posted Dr. Rhonda Freedman. It was very good and helpful. Thank you so much!! xo

              1. Adelyn Birch

                You’re welcome, Dee. Dr. Freeman’s website is NEUROINSTINCTS She helps survivors understand the dynamics of toxic/abusive relationships from a neuropsychological angle.

            2. NormaJean

              Adelyn, how can you say psychopaths are human?

              1. Adelyn Birch

                If you check their DNA, it will come up as “human.” If you’re basing your definition on, let’s say, more elusive traits, your conclusion might differ. Strictly speaking, they are human, and I think it’s a lot easier to think of someone you once loved as a human with a disorder (a disorder you can’t change) than making the leap to seeing them as something inhuman.

  4. Deannalynn Arzola

    Dearest Adelyn,

    I was just having this discussion with my therapist 5 days ago. I was talking about the grief of ending my relationship with this man after 3 years and I recently completely went no contact. I didn’t want to do it, but I had to because even in the end trying to be friends, even, is just not possible. There’s no way he could ever be reciprocal ever.
    I remember when I lost my dog Elvis. He was that one dog, that love of my life and I simply could not get over the grief, it was many years ago and I went to see a minister and I told him I cannot get over this loss and he said to me, “you don’t get over something like this, you have to get through it”. There’s so many stages grief but that’s exactly what it is. It doesn’t matter what your feeling, whether it is the loss of the illusion, the loss of the Soul mate, the idea that you’re never going to see this person that you love so much again; however you define it in your soul, it’s still a loss and it must be grieved and the process must be gone through and no one can tell you how quickly to do that or how to do that- only the person going through it can decide when they’re finished grieving and how they’re going to do it.
    I am grieving a loss. It will take the time it takes. I will go through all the stages and let those emotions wash over me because I know that what comes up must come down, I won’t hurt forever. That moment of grief that’s so desperate that has me wanting to call him again anyway, regardless of the knowledge I have of him, I also have the knowledge that that moment of grief is momentary. That’s what I hold on to you and I do the same thing when the next one comes and the next one comes and the next one comes…

    Dee Arzola

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m so sorry you lost Elvis, Deannalyn. I love my own dog so much. She’s getting up in years now, and just a thought of her dying can bring me to tears. I’m so glad your minister was understanding and supportive, and he was so right when he said we get through it, not over it. I’m sorry you’re experiencing loss and grief now, over your ex. You may want to take a look at the article I’ve linked to at the bottom of the post, the one by Dr. Freeman. It might strengthen your resolve not to contact him even more. Stay strong.

  5. silvio

    I lived 21 months on another planet: the one of a relationship with an N/P woman. I’m not a young man, I’m nearly 60 years old. She was 13 younger than me: The warning bells rang from the very first but, this time, I switched them off: I really want my “last opportunity” and I said that I had nothing more to lose…. I was wrong: my soul! I nearly lost that: along my life I met all kind of people, I had -and have- a PSTD due my past time but I was not ready to met an evil. Yes, now -after six months of no contact- I feel “empty”, sad and deceived in my hope …. I feel just like I fought a war without sense… it happened in the past too during my days… I’m old for such kind of things but I don’t want to give up: if the way is blocked, break through the wall…

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Silvio. It is like being on another planet, and like fighting a war that makes no sense at all. You described it perfectly. I’m sorry you’re feeling empty, sad and deceived. Please don’t give up, whatever you do. You will work your way through whatever this wall is that’s blocking you. Sixty doesn’t seem too old to me, and I hope that one day you will have another opportunity, and that it will be real and wonderful.

  6. Amy

    Dear Adelyn,
    I would like to add that letting go of such grief can take much longer. Until I let go of the guy I had loved most in my life, 20 years had to elapse. Only last year I realized what had made me “love” him: I had been coerced by my narcissistically disturbed mother to stay in this country which is not my home and where I can never feel truly well. I thought, unconsciously, “If he loves me, maybe I can stand it here”. A sad reason for believing to truly love someone.
    I am over 40 now. I guess when we are very young we believe life is about making our dreams come true, but the truth is the reverse: we need to learn to cope with reality. (Which doesn’t mean that none of our dreams will ever come true, of course – some assuredly will.)
    All the best

    1. Adelyn Birch

      That’s a great insight, Amy, that we need to learn to cope with reality. It helps when we know what that is. I think that’s when we can really make our dreams come true. All the best to you, too

  7. Joan

    I have become well educated in the world of psychopathy and how to handle, recover and avoid them. Unfortunately, I have had difficulty finding information on how to deal with a Pyschopath when they are your own child. Suggestions appreciated.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Joan. How difficult and heartbreaking it must be to have a psychopathic child! I know info about it is much too hard to come by. How old is your child?

      I found a few things. Not sure if they’ll help, but just in case:

      Here’ an interesting article (by a psychopath) “Sociopath child, to teen, to adult” I think she’s using sociopath as interchangeable with psychopath. It doesn’t go into how to deal with them, but it might help you understand yours better.

      An interesting post in the psychopathy-research forum from a mom with a 22 year old psychopathic son: My Life with a Psychopathic Son The thread is seven pages long; hearing from other parents might be helpful.

      Here, several parents share their experiences with psychopathic children: https://www.quora.com/What-is-it-like-to-have-a-sociopathic-adult-child

      If anyone else reading this knows where Joan can find the information she’s looking for, please reply. Best of luck to you, Joan.

  8. Pamela

    Your insight is spot on, I went through the very thing you wrote about. I still mourn the loss of a 29 year marriage, and so much missed out on because of his hate towards me, what torture it was to keep hoping each new day would be different.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      I’m sorry your marriage turned out like it did, Pamela. That’s a lot of years of torture. I hope you’re doing well, and I wish you the best in the future.

  9. Sharon

    I needed to read this today! I’ve been trying NC for almost a year now, but then he’ll send me a text or show up at my door, and he reels me back in and I give him yet another chance, hoping that THIS time it will work out! I mean, if he didn’t love me and miss me, he wouldn’t have texted/came over, right? WRONG! I now have finally realized that if I continue with this man, I’m just asking for another for four years of his lies, cheating, and abuse! So now I am grieving, and the pain is so great that it physically hurts. The worst part is, I keep hoping that after I am over him, we can still be friends. But after what I’ve read, and trying to imagine how a future friendship with him would play out, I realize that this, too, will never work. The finality of it all just overwhelms me. I just feel crippled by this pain, like the air has been crushed right out of me and I can’t breathe.

    Is it possible to get through this on my own? I’ve looked into several therapists and even called a few, but I just can’t afford any of them. I don’t know where to turn anymore. My friends are sick of hearing about him and say I should be glad he’s gone, and just get over him and move on. I’m not young and naive–I’m 55, was married for 22 years then divorced, and have had enough relationships in my life to know pain. But none of the other endings come close to how I feel now. Will I ever get over him?

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Sharon. I’m so sorry you’re feeling so bad. Finality is overwhelming. I’m afraid that every time you break NC, you have to start all over again, and it gets even harder. If I were you, I would try and find a therapist who does sliding-scale fees based on what you can afford. You have to ask; they don’t always advertise. Even that was too much for me at the time, but I live near a big university and I was able to see a grad student at their clinic for $10/ session. She wasn’t the greatest, but she was a lot better than not having a therapist at all. You need time and space away from him in order to start healing. Would you please read that article by Rhonda Freeman, PhD, that I linked to at the bottom of the post? She talks about trauma bonds, intermittent reinforcement, power differentials, and she talks about neurochemistry—how dopamine, oxytocin and endogenous opioids create an actual addiction complete with withdrawal, which is part of what you’re experiencing. It helps to understand what’s going on. It might not make it easier, but it helps. Best of luck to you xo

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-spellbinding-bond-to-narcissists-and-psychopaths_us_57a4dbabe4b034b25894cc80?puewlqkto0ly833di

      1. sharon

        Adelyn,
        Thank you so much for the link! I completely identified with the example of “Nyla” Now my feelings–craving him–all makes more sense. It also helps explain that while my head tells me I need to stop loving him, my heart just doesn’t know how.

        I now see how his pattern continues to repeat itself–calls/texts to reel me back in, promises of love and fidelity, then the lies begin again, promises broken, cheating starts all over, and when I call him out on his behavior the rage and abuse returns, he insists it’s all my fault because I am the cheater/liar/abuser, then he takes off and totally ignores me for weeks or months–until his new woman finds out what he’s really like and drops him. Then he hits the “replay” button. But each time the abuse–physical, mental, and emotional–escalates. He’s started not only calling me vile names, but also going online in chat rooms (where we met) to smear my name, and has also taken to choking me until I pass out.

        I really don’t have a dime to spare, as this man owes me more than $4000 (that doesn’t include the money and possessions he stole from me over the years.) I’m one step away from living out of my car again, just as I had to two years ago when my previous landlord caught him staying at my place at night while I was at work–I had no clue!! I ended up being evicted since he wasn’t on my lease. He later told me that he had stolen my apartment keys while I was sleeping, made copies, and had been living there at night for over three months! He’s done the same thing again at my current apartment so now I have my daughters staying here so the door is chained at night. Therapy is currently out of the question as my bills are so far behind. I’ve just taken on a day job in addition to still working nights just to make ends meet. In the meantime I am doing all I can to read about sociopaths and narcissists, and keeping a journal to help me when my resolve for NC weakens. I am determined to get through this and move on with my life. Your website is a lifesaver to me–perhaps quite literally, and there are no words to express my deepest thanks to you!

        1. Adelyn Birch

          Oh good! I’m so glad you read it, Sharon, and that you found it enlightening! Now you understand why you’re craving him, and know why you must resist your cravings. Especially if he’s taken to choking you until you pass out. One day you might not regain consciousness. Don’t let this man ruin your life, Sharon. You’re worth far, far more than that. You have the potential now to be stronger than you’ve ever been. Grab the opportunity. If you can get through the painful parts, you can go all the way. Don’t let him (or anyone) stop you. When you rise like a phoenix from the ashes, which you will, you’ll know it was well worth it. Take your power back.

          PS Do you know it just takes a kick to break a door chain? Get a door jammer, also known as a kickbar. I have this one: https://www.amazon.com/Master-Lock-265DCCSEN-Dual-Function-Security/dp/B0002YUX8I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1471999370&sr=8-1&keywords=door+jammer I had it when I was involved with the psychopath, and when he saw it he said, “Do you realize the no one can get in with this thing in place, not even the police?” and I said, “Yes, but it does no good at all when I just open the door and let a predator in.” Without missing a beat, he smiled at me and said “No, it sure doesn’t.”

          1. Sharon

            Oh wow! I’ve never heard of a door jammer! I’m definitely getting one as soon as I’m able! Once I was home with the door chained and he was trying everything possible to slip the chain out!

            Thanks so much for the words of encouragement! My daughters and friends have all said the same thing, and while I know it’s true, it means a lot coming from you, someone who truly understands psychopaths and knows that a person snagged in their claws can’t “just get over him and move on” quite so easily.

            Thank you again for everything!

            (PS–He just now called twice and texted, but I didn’t answer! One call, one text, one day at a time, I WILL get through this!) :)

            1. Adelyn Birch

              You’re so welcome, Sharon! Stay strong. Blocking his number and email will help. You need time and space away from him, lots of it.

  10. sweetescape

    Having a spectacularly bad week this week. Grief stricken in fact. Quite remarkable that this post should come around!
    Something has triggered me, almost 30 months down the line and my grief feels raw today. It could be his new supply is here (he’s in a long distance thing and she visits every few weeks) or it could be another friend has just parted from her husband and moved away, or it could be I just work too hard and care for my child too, so I’m tired. Who knows. But this post is so spot on, as is some of the comments that describe the emotional turmoil of grieving a loss for someone that never had the same emotional attachment or love to give in return. I just needed to cry a lot today and hope tomorrow is brighter.
    Thanks Adelyn for a poignant insightful read.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Sweetscape! Sorry you are having such a bad week. It was probably everything you mentioned. I hope tomorrow is brighter, too xx

  11. Adrienne

    Hi Adelyn unbelievable post and the way you explained to the therapist is exactly how I feel since people do not understand how I can still grieve and love someone that did such a bad thing to me..thanks and sorry that good people have to go through these things. .my journey has changed me a lot..

    1. Adelyn Birch

      It’s a difficult thing for others to grasp. It was hard even for me to grasp, but it’s not about logic. The whole thing is a mind-bending trip down the rabbit hole, anyway

  12. Lcherie

    This grief hurts so bad. I thought when I lost my dad 17 years ago that it was the worst pain I’d ever feel. I was wrong. Being married to a psychopath for nearly 10 years almost broke me. We have a child together so the wounds he has left behind are harder to heal. My faith has kept me going but no one fully understand how I could still miss and love him when I know now that he never loved me. But today society would say he did love me because of all the great things he did for me. I was considered the lucky one. Now he has discarded me like I never existed and manipulates my son and I can’t do anything about it or there will be more hell to pay. So I grieve in silence. The only thing that keeps me alive is my kids. Knowing they need me to be there and knowing I’m their only option to live a some what normal loving life.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Lcherie, my heart goes out to you. I’m sorry you’re not getting the support you need. It’s sad that you, or anyone, has to grieve in silence. I don’t agree that society would say he loved you, not if they knew the details beyond the surface, and not if they understood how much pain you’re, in or how he manipulates your son. I’m very happy your kids are keeping you alive, but I hope you’ll get to a place where you want to stay alive for yourself, too. I believe you will xox

  13. Gigi

    Hi Adelyn, Ditto, GREAT post. This grief thing seems to be the hardest for me to get through. I managed the other stuff and now that its over, I seem stuck in dread! Your blog and books are amazing and Ive come to accept that UNLESS someone has experienced a psychopath, then they will never be able to relate. I will keep trying to work my way through that door and one day find the peace in burying the dead.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Some things can only be understood from experience, and I think a psychopath is one of those. I hope I’m wrong and my writing will be able to prevent the hell for others, but to tell the truth, I don’t feel much hope. Why would they think about anything I’ve written when they’ve just met the most wonderful person?

      I’m sorry you’re stuck in dread, Gigi. You will get through that door and find peace, and I hope it happens soon.

  14. Sharyn

    I am sitting here with tears streaming down my face. Its been a year since my ex completely discarded me via text message after 7 years. I am MOURNING , still, a year later. This article described everything i have been feeling in the last year. Bless you for writing it !!!!!

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Hi, Sharyn. I’m so glad the article let you know you’re not alone. There are others who’ve been there and who understand what you’re going through, and as one of them, I’m sending you a warm hug and wishes for peace and healing xo

  15. Rosy

    Thank you for this article and thank you to everyone for sharing. Your experiences. I read your article this morning and finally realized why I was emotional. A year n a half ago I found out my boyfriend had sexually abused my daughter I have sense found out besides being a predator he is a socialpath and the tens years with him were all a lie. Reading this article today and the links have helped me to understand that it is ok to grieve because I loved him eventhough now I know he never did. And also to understand the attachment to him when he was arressted. Thank you for all your help.
    Rosy

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Rosy, I’m sorry you and your daughter had to go through that! I’m really glad to hear that this article and the links helped you understand your feelings. I wish you and your daughter all the best xx

  16. Janes/ Lady Vigilant 2

    Thanks AB!
    Another touching post. i learn so much from others comments as well. Very sad stories though.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      Nice to see you here, Janes/LV2

  17. Julie

    I have saved your email post since I got it on Sunday. On Saturday, after breaking no contact with the psychopath, I found out that he is moving in with his ex in another state. The grief I feel is deep and gut wrenching even though I KNOW what he is. He used me, lied to me, slept with other woman, spent time with me only when he wanted to, let me pay all the bills, and didn’t work for 7 months because he needed a break. MY heart is breaking into a million pieces and trying to move forward is a struggle. So your article came at the right time. He is leaving Friday. I have once again, blocked and gone no contact, and I will heal. I love the support from knowing I’m not alone.

    1. Adelyn Birch

      You certainly aren’t alone, Julie! I KNEW what he was, too, and kept seeing him (and felt heart-wrenching grief when it was over). I didn’t care what he was, or so I thought at the time. He didn’t try too hard to hide it by that time. He said “I know this relationship is very detrimental to you, but I won’t end it—you have to be the one to do it.” And I still didn’t do it! SMH He lowered me to rock bottom, and that’s the solid foundation upon which I rebuilt my life. My heart broke into a million pieces first, but what enabled me was to stay away from him. It was easy in my case; he never looked back. Best thing he ever did.

      Be sure to read the article I linked to at the bottom of the post by Rhonda Freeman, PhD, OK? It will help you to understand what you’re feeling.

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